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Dear Kristy: Is Good Pay Enough to Lure in Candidates?

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 Dear Kristy,

Our company has always had pretty competitive salaries for our local market. However, I’ve started to notice in recent years that good pay doesn’t seem to be the central focus of job candidates. Is that true? What ARE they looking for? 



Hi Payton!

Thanks for the great question. You’re right, candidates are no longer just looking for good salaries. While baby boomers and most Gen Xer’s were happy with steady jobs and good paychecks, millennials are often looking for more. In June 2018, CNBC published an article saying nine out of 10 millennials would take a pay cut if it meant working for a company whose mission and values aligned with their own. For a little comparison, only 9% of baby boomers (ages 54 to 72) shared the same sentiment. 

So, yes, it is true that salary is not the only important factor in candidates’ job decisions today. Many of the candidates we speak with care more about culture, values, and how they fit in with people at the company than the salary. Right now, one of our recruiters is working with a candidate who has two job offers from other companies and is going through a final interview with one of our clients before receiving a formal offer from them. She is (politely) holding off on answering the other two companies because she wants to work for our client, even though she knows one of her standing offers has a higher salary than our client can offer! It comes straight down to the rapport she built with the owner and her understanding of the company’s purpose and mission. We see scenarios just like this almost weekly! Since restoration companies are generally good on the relationship/rapport/purpose front, it works to your advantage. 

In June at Violand Management Associates’ Women in Leadership event, I asked a group of women in leadership roles in restoration and cleaning companies across the U.S. what factors they thought were more important to potential candidates than salary. Just as we’ve been discussing, the most popular answer was growth opportunity, followed directly by purpose and culture. 

Here’s the thing. The way millennials are wired, they want to feel that they are part of a cause and that there is a future for them. This is why we encourage companies to have growth paths or plans clearly outlined for new hires who are looking for a company to call home. Millennials often get a bad rap, accused of not being loyal, needing to be praised over every little thing, and so on. They’re often considered entitled. 

What if we turn the lens a little bit and adjust the view? Research in the last few years say millennials don’t deserve the bad rap. Instead, they are self-starters and doers. They are using technology to learn in different ways. They don’t believe in leaving their fate (and promotions, salary, work-life balance, etc., in the hands of others). Despite their reputation, millennials do work hard (we have placed a lot of rock stars with a lot of great restoration companies!) and, again, feel strongly about their work being meaningful. 

Not sure where to go from here? Think about what can make your company more appealing to younger generations. Put pen to paper and create a growth plan. Let new hires, especially millennials, that there is a career path for them if they work hard!